Wingman Day mentally, spiritually invigorates Airmen

Col. Edwards, the 28th Bomb Wing Commander, delivers a speech to Airmen during Wingmen Day Aug. 25, 2017 on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. The Wing Commanders All Call and kicked off the day’s events which included lectures and a base picnic called the Summer Bash. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Col. Edwards, the 28th Bomb Wing Commander, delivers a speech to Airmen during Wingmen Day Aug. 25, 2017 on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. The Wing Commanders All Call and kicked off the day’s events which included lectures and a base picnic called the Summer Bash. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

CMSgt. Adam Vizi, the 28th Bomb Wing command chief, hits a volleyball over a net Aug. 25, 2017 on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. Wingmen Day included a base picnic called the Summer Bash where food and beverages were served and senior NCOs played a volley ball game against Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

CMSgt. Adam Vizi, the 28th Bomb Wing command chief, hits a volleyball over a net Aug. 25, 2017 on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. Wingmen Day included a base picnic called the Summer Bash where food and beverages were served and senior NCOs played a volley ball game against Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Two Airman challenge each other with pugil sticks at the Summer Bash picnic Aug. 25, 2017 on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. There were multiple games played at the base picnic, including wrestling in Sumo suits, cornhole, horseshoe tossing, and volleyball. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Two Airman challenge each other with pugil sticks at the Summer Bash picnic Aug. 25, 2017 on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. There were multiple games played at the base picnic, including wrestling in Sumo suits, cornhole, horseshoe tossing, and volleyball. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --

Airmen from the 28th Bomb Wing participated in Wingman Day activities Aug. 25, 2017.

Wingman Day is hosted twice a year as part of the Comprehensive Airmen Fitness Program to develop over-arching Airmen fitness and resiliency.

The focus of this particular Wingman Day is to ensure Airmen have the emotional stamina and spiritual well-being needed to execute the base’s bomber mission.

“Wingman Days give us an opportunity to build on our pillars and strengthen as a team,” said Chief Master Sgt. Adam Vizi, the 28th Bomb Wing command chief. “It forms bonds and gives our Airmen a chance to listen to dynamic speakers.”

The day’s events educated Airmen, helped bolster relationships between co-workers, and showed the benefits of mental and spiritual fitness.

One of their more popular events, were the two guest speakers at the South Dakota Air and Space Museum. The first was Robert Liebman, a former B-1 Bomber pilot who shared his experiences about flying out of Ellsworth during the final years of the Cold War. Second was Robert Schilling, a gunner on the AC-47 Spooky gunship who served with the famous Airman 1st Class John Levitow, Medal of Honor recipient.

“I really liked the speakers at the museum,” said Airman 1st Class Kaleb P. Ferrell, a sortie support technician assigned to the 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “It was really cool to hear from someone who flew B-1 bombers when they were brand new and hearing from someone who actually served with John Levitow.”

Some of the other events focused on First Amendment rights, freedom of religion and emotional intelligence.  There was also a Wet Lab, where the 28th Security Forces Squadron showed the reality of driving under the influence and how dangerous it is.

“I never knew that alcohol took that long to actually take effect in your system,” said Airman 1st Class Justine Wilson, personal property counselor assigned to the 28th Logistics Readiness Squadron. “The Wet Lab definitely opened my eyes to what only a few drinks can do to you.”

Another lecture was called “DUI: The Rest of the Story,” where three people who have been affected by drinking and driving spoke to Airmen about how it can not only damage your life and career, but others lives as well.  

“It was pretty crazy to hear about how bad something like this can end up,” Ferrell said. “It almost ruined one of the presenter’s careers and nearly ended the life of another.”

Many of the lectures touched on controversial topics, but invoked thought and sparked conversation amongst Airmen across the base and may help them in a situation presented to them later on in their careers. 

To wrap up the day, the Ellsworth Chapel and Active Airman’s Council hosted a Summer Bash picnic. There was also a DJ and multiple activities like bean bag toss, horseshoe and volleyball in which senior and junior enlisted Airmen competed against each other.

 “My favorite part of this event was the young Airmen collaborating to make this event happen and how we were able to make Airmen smile,” said Staff Sgt. Brendan Sparks, a chaplain’s assistant assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing Chapel. “The event encompassed the whole Airmen concept and got people together."